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DRC records more Ebola as presidential election is called



Early this morning, election officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) called Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential elections held on December 30th.

Tshisekedi opposed the candidate chosen by the outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, and some groups have already called the victory an "electoral coup", according to a story from The Guardian because even Tshisekedi has beaten Martin Fayulu, who obtained a healthy electoral vote in the elections. Sparse violent protests have already been reported.

In the research news, animal tests show the promise of a new therapy with monoclonal antibodies.

Three new cases

Against the background of the elections, new cases of Ebola are still registered in the Provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. Yesterday, the Democratic Republic of the Congo recorded a new case in Katwa and a new death in the Ebola community in the same city. Community deaths pose a greater risk of transmission than those occurring in a hospital or Ebola treatment center.

As of yesterday, the Ebola epidemic has reached 628 cases, of which 580 confirmed. There were 383 deaths and the DRC said data on the number of cases still under investigation were not available.

Today the DRC ministry said cases rose to 630, reflecting 2 new cases, both confirmed and fatal, with 1

22 suspected cases still under investigation. The new deaths are in Katwa and Biena, and both have occurred in the community.

Officials of the DRC also noted that the number of people vaccinated exceeded 58,000.

In his daily update yesterday, the DRC's health ministry also said the first child born of a survivor of the current epidemic was born on January 6 and shows no sign of the virus. Baby Sylvana was born in a Beni care center. Her mother survived an Ebola infection in December and agreed to give birth to her son at an Ebola treatment center.

"Fortunately, Baby Sylvana has been tested twice and the results have returned negative," said the health ministry. [19659002] Last month, officials from the DRC reported that a baby born of an Ebola-infected mother had survived an infection, but she had died in childbirth.

Promise for an experimental treatment

Every patient in this outbreak has received medical treatment for viruses, including ZMapp, a treatment with monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Today two new studies on Cell Host & Microbe showed that a new mAbs cocktail of the Ebola virus was protective in India piglets, ferrets and rhesus macaques.

All of the therapies tested were effective for more than one of the six Ebola family viruses, of which four cause fatal hemorrhagic fevers in humans.

In the first study, two antibodies isolated from an ebola survivor offered protection against the Sudan ebolavirus and the Ebola virus in guinea pigs. The new generation human mAb cocktail, MBP134AF, has shown glycoproteins that have targeted all six strains of Ebola, the authors said.

In a second study, the cocktail, given as a single dose, was shown to be protective in eight ferrets and 10 monkeys.

"The development path of MBP134AF presents a model for the rapid design of next-generation antiviral immunotherapeutics targeted to priority pathogens of the World Health Organization," concluded the study authors.

See also:

Jan 10 Guardian article

Jan 9 DRC Update

Jan 10 DRC Update

13 Dec 2018, CIDRAP News "I officials note 10 new Ebola cases when the younger patient recovers "

Jan 10 Cell Host Microbe India piglet study

Jan 10 Cell Host Microbe study on ferret-macaque


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